Year 5 and 6 pupils at Willow Tree Primary School were extremely excited to welcome author Emma Carroll into school last week. Emma’s World War Two era book, ‘Letters from the Lighthouse’ has been a central focus for the children as part of their current World War Two topic. The children were so enthralled by the book that they decided to put their persuasive skills to good use and write letters to Emma to convince her to come and visit the school. The children learned about formal letter writing, as well as persuasive techniques, and, over half term, all of the letters were posted to Emma’s publisher.
The children were ecstatic to hear the brilliant news that their letters had been a success and that Emma Carroll would be coming to visit Willow Tree! Preparations for the author visit were then underway: classroom doors were decorated in the style of Emma’s book covers, posters were made to decorate the hall, and questions to ask Emma were gathered by each class’s Reading Champion.
On the day of the visit the children were treated to an insightful and inspiring afternoon listening to Emma Carroll explaining all about her writing process, including showing them her writing desk setup (featuring two very fluffy dogs) and giving a glimpse into one of her notebooks.
Emma then immersed the children in life in 1962, the year that her new novel:The Week at World’s End’ is set. They listened to some music from the era, looked at photos of Emma’s parents from that year, and even had a special surprise visit from two 1960s superstars: Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield (possibly just two teachers in a pair of wigs!). The children then enjoyed an exclusive reading from Emma’s new book, and were very, very excited to discover that two characters from ‘Letters From The Lighthouse’ made a cameo appearance! Emma then invited children to become chat show hosts, and to sit next to her in front of the audience to ask a question. The afternoon ended with a tour of the Year 5 and 6 classrooms so that she could see the specially decorated doors. It’s fair to say that she was absolutely blown away and very touched by how much she had inspired the children.
Upper Key Stage Two Phase Leader, Tom Perkins commented:
Excitement levels were exceptionally high in Year 5 and 6, and it’s safe to say that Emma Carroll’s visit exceeded our expectations. It was wonderful to see how awestruck the children were when seeing an author that they admired so much.